238/1. Antestia - denarius (136 BC)

AR Denarius (Rome, 136 BC)

O/ Helmeted head of Roma right, X below chin, GRAG behind.

R/ Jupiter in quadriga r., holding sceptre & thunderbolt; L ANTES below; ROMA in exergue.

3.91g; 19.5mm

Crawford 238/1 (253 obverse dies/316 reverse dies)

Lucius Antestius C. f. Gragulus:

Gragulus belonged to the plebeian gens Antestia (or Antistia).  This gens only reached the consulship in 30 BC with Gaius Antistius Vetus, but no magistrate of the gens is known in the 2nd century BC.  However, two Lucius Antestius are mentioned on the Senatus consultum de agro Pergameno*, dated from 101 BC.  They were probably father and son (listed as numbers 22 and 53 over 55 names); the former was doubtlessly our moneyer.  His possible elder brother also minted coins in 146 BC (RRC 219).

An Antestia, possibly an aunt of our moneyer, was also married to Appius Claudius Pulcher (cos. 143), and was therefore the mother-in-law of Tiberius Gracchus (Plutarch, T. Gracchus, 4, 2).

His cognomen Gragulus refers to a jackdaw (graculus in Latin), as this bird appears on his bronze coins.  It seems he was the only member of the gens to have used it.

*A decree delimiting the land of Pergamon. The Praetor who passed it gathered for consultation a concilium of senators, whose names are mentioned on a stone in Smyrna. Cf. Robert K. Sherk, The Text of the Senatus Consultum De Agro Pergameno, 1966.

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04 Nov 2019
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